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'Aurora raised voice against militancy'
May 03, 2005 23:01 IST
Former prime minister Inder Kumar Gujral shares his experiences with Lt Gen J S Aurora, who died on Tuesday at the age of 89.
"I was shocked when I learnt about the death of Lt Gen Jagjit Singh Aurora, a great son of the soil and a hero.
He was a great friend of mine and he campaigned for me when I was contesting the Jallandhar Lok Sabha seat from Punjab many years back.
We both came from Jhelum district of West Punjab, now in Pakistan. His village was very close to mine.
The hour of glory in his military career came in 1971 when he forced Pakistani General Niazi to surrender before him to announce the end of the Bangladesh war.
General Niazi laid his sword before General Aurora. That was symbolic of the defeat that the Indian forces had inflicted upon the enemy.
The glory of the victory was reflected on his forehead that glowed with pride and honour of an Indian victory. His career as an officer of the Indian army was outstanding.
Later on, when he joined us in the Rajya Sabha, he participated in debates and placed his point of view on various subjects and his contribution as a member of the upper house was excellent.
He was a strong believer in India and its destiny as a soldier, parliamentarian and as a person who stood out against militancy.
He believed that the militancy was doing a great deal of harm to the state of Punjab and particularly to the Sikh community.
It needed both courage and vision to take on those wielding the gun, and he took them on. It was during this period that we came closer to each other.
We formed a Punjab Group to raise the voice of concerned Punjabis against militancy. We also raised our voice in support of the grievances that the Punjabis were having either against the Central government or other issues that were bothering them.
As a friend, I feel proud that I have had the privilege of knowing the great man. May his soul rest in peace."
(As told to Onkar Singh in New Delhi)